Personal computers, mobile phones and tablets with an internet connection can help older adults stay connected with loved ones and learn new skills. However, there are some precautions that all of us should consider taking in order to protect ourselves while spending time online.
In this article, we’ll briefly explore the reasons why online scammers target seniors and also share some valuable online safety tips to help older adults minimize risk while using the internet.
Top Reasons Why Online Scammers Target Seniors
According to the FBI’s Elder Fraud Report, in 2021, over 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion dollars to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). That amount represents a 74 percent increase in losses when compared to data collected in 2020.
Why are online scammers more likely to target seniors? Older adults tend to have more money saved, and are assumed to be more trusting. Additionally, seniors have access to Social Security and Medicare benefits, which makes them targets for criminals who run healthcare-related scams.
5 Tips to Help You Minimize Risk Online
There are many ways you can protect yourself online while still enjoying all the internet has to offer. Our team here at Claridge Court, a senior living community in Prairie Village, Kansas, compiled a list of some useful tips.
1. Don’t Click Suspicious Links or Email Attachments
If a link looks suspicious or you’re not sure where it’s going to take you, then don’t click on it. The same goes for email attachments. Always double-check who sent the message. If you weren’t expecting an attachment, it’s better to be safe and reach out to your contact directly.
2. Be Wary of Strange or Unexpected Messages
No one is going to randomly reach out to you via email or social media asking for money. Even if you get an email or message coming from a contact you think you know, this could still be an online scammer. Contact that person via another method to verify if they sent a message recently. This includes logging into any third party websites directly instead of clicking on links which are emailed to you, even and especially if brand names in the email are familiar.
3. Don’t Respond to or Click on Pop-up Windows
Online scammers sometimes use pop-up ads to scare a person into action. Some pop-ups make loud noises or make it seem like you are doing something wrong. If you ever see a suspicious pop-up appear, it’s best to ignore it and restart your computer. If the pop-ups keep happening, then you may need the help of a virus removal service provider.
4. Be Cautious Who You Give Your Personal Information To
Don’t share personally identifiable information or make payments to someone you have only met online. You should approach any online conversation with an unknown contact with caution, no matter how friendly or genuine the person communicating with you may seem. Think before reacting. And if someone gets aggressive or overly demanding, you can always close out of the conversation and/or block the user.
5. Keep Antivirus or Security Software Up to Date
While you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to purchase antivirus software, you should make sure to keep your computer and other internet-enabled devices updated. Most computers using Apple or Windows operating systems should have built-in protection. Keep in mind some online scammers use antivirus software renewal prompts to trick people into sending money. If you do choose to buy antivirus software, only renew your software through an official source.
Get More Resources at Claridge Court
At Claridge Court, we encourage our residents to stay connected in a safe environment. That may include using an internet enabled device to communicate with loved ones, as well as providing in-person opportunities to socialize.
No matter how you prefer to communicate and enjoy your time, our expert team members are always willing to help with your technology questions, wellness goals and more. Contact us to learn more about our community.